Coronavirus in Arkansas: Governor Hutchinson, state officials discuss White House report, cases in schools

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- Governor Asa Hutchinson, Secretary of Health Dr. José Romero and Education Commissioner Johnny Key gave an update Tuesday afternoon on Arkansas’s COVID-19 response.

As of Tuesday afternoon, there are an additional 699 total COVID-19 cases and 21 deaths among confirmed COVID-19 cases.

According to Governor Hutchinson, there were 482 COVID-19 cases confirmed by a PCR test and 217 probable cases due to a positive antigen test.

Out of the confirmed cases, Dr. José Romero said 476 are in communities and six are in prisons.

According to Dr. Romero, the counties with the most newly-reported cases are Washington County (65), Pulaski County (47), Sebastian County (33) and Benton County (31).

State officials say there have been 1,204 deaths among confirmed COVID-19 cases.

According to Romero, all of the 21 deaths were from Monday and nine of the deaths were in nursing homes.

According to state officials, 490 people are hospitalized across the state due to COVID-19, which is a decrease of six.

According to Dr. Romero, an additional 756 people were considered recovered.

Romero said since the pandemic began, there have been 80,003 confirmed cases in Arkansas.

According to state officials, there were 5,394 PCR tests completed and 1,167 antigen tests completed on Monday.

State officials say 1,002,538 PCR tests have been administered in Arkansas since the pandemic began.

According to state officials, 21,214 antigen tests have been completed so far.

According to state officials, the positivity rate is going down.

During the news conference, the governor said according to a White House Task Force report, Arkansas is still in the red zone for cases, but yellow for test positivity. According to Governor Hutchinson, the report says the state has seen stability in new cases and test positivity within the last week. According to the White House report, more than a quarter of Arkansas counties have high community transmission.

The White House also announced Monday they have bought 150 million rapid point-of-care tests.

Hutchinson said Arkansas will receive 900,000 of those tests and 59,000 will be in the state in the next 10 days.

Education Commissioner Johnny Key said as of Tuesday, there are 36 schools under modifications because of the virus.

According to Key, 93 schools have returned to campus after a modification.

According to state officials, there has been a decrease in active cases for both K-12 schools and higher education.

State officials said on September 21, there were 740 active cases in K-12 and 701 active cases in colleges.

According to state officials, there were 717 active cases in K-12 and 490 active cases in colleges as of September 28.

At the beginning of the weekly briefing, Hutchinson recognized Atkins Public School Superintendent Jody Jenkins, who passed away Tuesday due to complications of COVID-19.

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